Ever since she was a little girl, Megan Ray, the founder of Miette Patisserie & Confiserie in San Francisco, loved to bake.
“I would come home from school and bake my way through cookbooks. One year I won a blue ribbon at the state fair for my chocolate cake, and that, I think, launched my career.”
For most people, childhood interests don’t usually guide our grown-up decision making. But after losing her dot-com job when the bubble burst in 2001, Ray decided it was time to return to her original love and pursue her dream of running a pastry business.
“I started at the farmers market in Berkeley. I would bake cakes starting Friday morning and sell them on Saturday. I did that for two-and-a-half years, and then I moved to the San Francisco Farmers Market, then into the Ferry building — and that changed everything.”
As her business took off, Ray expanded Miette to four locations across the San Francisco Bay Area. Around this time she also launched a website to help extend her brand, better serve customers, and sell more of her delicious creations beyond the walls of her delightful shops.
Cooking up a unified commerce approach
After close to 20 years in business, Ray’s decisive instincts had her rethinking Miette’s eCommerce website platform — she knew she wasn’t getting what she wanted in order to grow her customer base.
“Our old system was really complicated to use. I couldn’t run promotions or coupons, or make any changes on the site. We weren’t building our business with that other provider.”
Switching to Square Online made clear business sense to Ray, as she’d already been using Square for her in-store point-of-sale technology for seven years. With this positive experience to draw on, Ray felt confident trusting Square for her eCommerce platform.
“The most important thing is that Square Online integrated completely with the Square POS system. Now I can look at my phone and see how much each store has made, including online sales. Before, they were almost two separate businesses. We had our online store and then what the shops did. Now it operates as one comprehensive business.”
Better ordering experience, more dough
In addition to simplifying inventory management by keeping the in-store business synced with online, Square Online has helped Miette increase online sales.
“The online store has made a difference in terms of how much people buy. The photos are beautiful and there’s just something that extends our brand in a way that people put more things in their shopping cart. So our average sale is much higher now.”
Miette’s customers also have the ability to order items online ahead of time and pick them up in person on the same day, something Miette wasn’t able to offer with its old eCommerce system. This has not only improved the in-store experience for customers who are short on time or counting on cakes for special occasions, but has grown Miette’s sales as well.
“Allowing customers to order ahead means they don’t have to risk coming into the store and discovering that there aren’t any cakes available. So they order online, they come in, and I would say our daily sales have almost doubled.”
Since she’s now able to offer same-day pickup for online orders, Ray loves how great the site looks and works on mobile devices. Customers can easily place orders on the go, right from their phone, and have their items ready to pick up when they get to the shop.
A beautiful website is the icing on the cake
Ray has put a lot of energy into sculpting Miette’s unique brand. And having the ability to communicate that brand feeling to customers online is what really stands out to her.
“I think what I love most about the new website is that it’s so beautiful. I feel like it’s the first time we’ve been able to extend the brand to the website. It allows us to not just do a transaction, but actually have shoppers be part of the brand when they’re not able to come into the store. It provides the in-store experience — online.”
As the owner and founder of Miette, Ray is proud of the fact that more than 90% of her 40 employees, including all managers and the chief baker, are women. With her eye on foreign expansion and continued domestic growth, she has just as much to anticipate as she does to appreciate.
“When I was 10, I would be super-excited about making one lopsided chocolate cake. So if I could see then what I ended up creating, I think I would be pretty happy. Now, I’m looking forward to a lot of growth with Miette. And Square will be with us every step of the way.”